Category Archives: Curb Appeal

Decorating for the Fall When Your House is For Sale

The smell of Fall is all around. Leaves are changing colors, mums are blooming everywhere, outdoor fire pits and wood-burning fireplaces are sending comforting smells through the air. And depending on what part of the country you live in, you may be spending more time indoors. Traditionally, in America, we decorate our homes more in the Fall — bringing the outdoors inside to enjoy. We decorate for the upcoming holidays at the end of the year as well.

Decorating a house that is on the market for sale can be challenging, especially if the homeowner is prone to extreme seasonal decoration. When a house is staged properly, buyers can see the indoor space in a more practical way, but with seasonal decoration, advent-1821740_1920the potential buyers may not be able to get past your Nutcracker collection or other bric a brac. If they leave your house referring to it as the pumpkin house or the turkey house, you may have lost their attention and probably the sale. They just couldn’t see the house as theirs.

I generally recommend during any time of year that sellers start packing things they will not need in the next few months and place them in storage or the garage. Since they plan to move anyway, why not get a head start on packing? Packing up unnecessary items minimizes clutter so potential buyers can view the house, not the stuff in it.

If you must decorate your for-sale house this Fall, remember this: you are going to sell the house. Everything you pulled out to decorate with needs to get packed again. Think minimal. A simple pumpkin display by the front door or on the fireplace is appealing. Perhaps a bouquet of fall-colored flowers or a pot of mums on the dining table will add a festive touch.

If a Christmas tree is necessary, consider keeping the size of the tree and decoration minimal. A tree too large will make a room look smaller. You want your rooms to look big.

Leave hand-railings free of decoration. It allows buyers to view the railings in their natural and beautiful state. Additionally, some buyers may need to hold onto the railing to get safely up and down the stairs. If garland and stockings block their grip, it’s a safety risk.

Is yours the house in the neighborhood known for the lights and blow-up characters on the lawn? Maybe this year you can start a new tradition in the neighborhood. Chances are that the new homeowners will not carry on your family’s enthusiasm for lighting, so this season, with your house on the market, keep your items in storage and let the christmas-21966_1920neighbors get used to a low-light holiday.  It’s less for you to pack up, too, if the house sells quickly. You will also save money on your electric bill that you can use toward your new home.

When your house is on the market for sale, think minimal decoration during the Fall and Holiday seasons.

 

Eileen Saunders, SRES, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors  2092 Old Taylor Road  Oxford, MS 38655 | 662-404-0816 | 662-234-5344 | eileen@tmhomes.com | Equal Housing

Advertisements

Roof Repairs

I drive around town a lot to see what’s going on. I check out the neighborhoods for new construction, what’s for sale by owner, for rent, what is being remodeled.

Here’s what else I notice:

  • shutters that have fallen off their hinges,
  • roof shingles that have slipped or broken off from the latest storm; perhaps a branch scraped the roof on its way to the ground,
  • gutters hanging along the side of a house
  • fences that need repair, and more.

While broken shutters are a curb appeal issue, a missing or damaged roof shingle can cause harm to the house itself and needs attention.

Oxford seems to get a lot of rain and the last thing a homeowner wants is water dripping into the attic. Even a little once-in-a-while drip can cause damage in the long run.  If it gets in, it is sure to affect the rest of the house and that requires more repairing. A damp spot on the ceiling may not get noticed until it forms a stain. If you sell your house, you’ll have to put the leak and any damage that was repaired (or not) that you know of, in a disclosure for the new owners. And if you don’t know about it, the inspector will be sure to find the stain to alert you.Maison-fuite-leaky-house-2400px.png

It is best to check your roof on a regular basis. A walk around the house to take note of shingles, flashing, gutters and trim can help you stay on top of maintenance issues.  Put a scheduled walk-around on your  phone calendar for reminders. Every few years ask a roofer to give your roof an inspection. He can tell you the life expectancy of your roof, whether he sees any issues, and an on-the-spot estimate for maintenance.  If you’ve noticed some black stain lines on their roof, ask him what it would take to clean it up.

Homeowners should care for their homes to get the maximum life out of it. Caring for your home and the roof on a regular basis will maximize your selling potential if you decide to move.

Eileen Saunders, REALTOR with Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford MS 38655, 662-404-0816 or 662-234-5344 Equal Housing

photo source: openclipart.org; “maison fuite-leaky house by enolynn

 

20 Ways to Prepare the Exterior of Your House For Sale

The first impression people have of your house is earned from what they see on the outside. If you house is kept well and looks inviting, chances are the inside is, too, and buyers will gain an interest in seeing what’s inside.

The truth is that some buyers will decide whether to go inside or drive by to the next house by seeing the outside.  I have actually cancelled appointments shortly after arriving because the outside of the house wasn’t in good condition and the buyers didn’t want to waste their time going in.

20687499300_64e1c5dee4_o.jpg
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Here are some tips to make buyers want to come inside:

  1. Spruce up the lawn by cutting, trimming, weeding and removing all yard clutter.
  2. Weed and apply fresh mulch to flower beds – it gives a fresh and maintained look for a low cost.
  3. Trim your trees and bushes.
  4. Apply fresh paint to wooden fences or power wash them to look fresh.
  5. Power wash the home’s exterior, driveway, walkway, patio and deck.
  6. If the house needs it, consider painting the exterior or at least the trim.
  7. Caulk around all doors and windows to give a tightly built appearance.
  8. Clean gutters and make sure all gutters and downspouts are attached.
  9. Paint the front door.
  10. Place potted plants near the door.
  11. Tighten and clean all door handles.
  12. Clean windows.
  13. Make sure your house numbers are easy to see.
  14. Buy a new welcome mat.
  15. If your shutters hardware has rusted, clean it up.
  16. Replace a dented/rusted mailbox.
  17. Plant seasonal flowers for extra color.
  18. Decorate gently during the holidays.
  19. Roof stains can be easily washed off and give a “new roof” appearance.
  20. Update outdoor lights or at least make sure the light bulbs work.

6 Things That Could Destroy Your House

There is a television series on The Weather Channel called “Secrets of the Earth.”  One episode is titled “Abandoned Places” and focuses on deterioration of property that has been abandoned for any variety of reasons (Detroit, Katrina …).

While it shows drastic deterioration, I would like you to keep in mind that any time you do not take care of your house and other buildings on your property, the environment can work to destroy it. Depending on where you live, that damage can come on fairly quickly.

Make sure you stay active on your home’s repairs. These include:

  • Cracks in brick mortar that may allow moisture in toward the walls
  • Missing tiles/shingles on the roof which allow leaks
  • Cracked or missing caulk around doors and windows letting moisture, air and insects through
  • Wood rot on eaves, soffits, door and window frames, and shutters
  • Crumbling or cracked concrete in your slab, garage floor and driveway that could erode further
  • Water ponding at your foundation which could cause water damage that you cannot see

Many houses in Oxford are second homes and stay vacant for long periods.  Others may be for CAM00261sale and already vacated because of a job in another town.  If you own a single-family home that is vacant, plan to visit it regularly or hire someone to check on it. Your lawn care company may not be equipped to help you with this so find a concierge-type company to keep an eye on things.

Meanwhile, I hope you get a chance to watch this episode of “Secrets of the Earth.” It’s pretty interesting.

Backyard Wildlife Habitats

I had a great time at the Lafayette County Oxford Public Library today leading a workshop on Backyard Wildlife Habitats and getting your yard certified. It is my favorite workshop to lead. I really missed my teaching partner, Tracy DiPietro.  When I lived in South Alabama, she and I would lead similar workshops for school children to supplement their science classes. Tracy and I are Master Environmental Educators and I am a Certified Junior Master Gardener Instructor.

I am available to help Oxford residents and schools with their gardens so feel free to contact me.

Today’s workshop was part of the Books and Lunch program at the public library. There were door prizes and lunch, made of vegetables from the library’s garden, was served to participants.

I will have another gardening workshop early in the fall. Topic TBD. Check the library’s website for upcoming summer workshops.

If you missed the workshop and want to know all about turning your Oxford yard into a backyard wildlife habitat read on.  You’ll need 4 elements to make this habitat. These are:

1. A water source: pond, stream, lake, bird bath, fish pond are just a few ideas.

backyard habitat water source and cover elements

2. Cover: a place for animals to hide from predators: shrubs, trees, ground cover, a broken pot on its side for a toad to hide in, rock ledges overhanging a fish pond for the fish to hid under, etc.

3. A place to live: bird houses, butterfly hut, foliage for butterflies and other insects to lay their eggs on, trees for nesting.

DSCN6602

4. A food source: hummingbird, squirrel, and bird feeders, foliage, flowers, etc.

Certified-Wildlife-Habitat-Sign_Lake-Lou_479x238

Once you have these elements, add a place for you to sit and enjoy your yard. Then, head over to http://www.nwf.org and register your yard for a certificate and sign. The certificate will cost $20; signs are additional and optional but great to have on a post in your garden for all to see.

Have fun!

Eileen Saunders, Realtor~Tommy Morgan Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Road, Oxford, MS 38655~662-404-0816/662-234-5344.  Equal Housing

Trees

It’s true that trees can add value to a home.  They can also do a lot more:

  • Trees add a cooling effect for your house when planted in the correct space. According to the Center for Urban Forest Research, a tree planted on the west side of your house can save you 3% in energy bill after 5 years. And, the USDA claims that properly places trees can reduce both air conditioning and heating needs.
  • It is believed that landscaping with trees can increase property values. Mature trees can add appraised value to your home, according to the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraiser.
  • Trees add an aesthetic quality to a home.  A landscaped yard, with trees included, add to the curb appeal of the house making it more appealing to potential renters or buyers.
  • Trees can reduce runoff and erosion on your property. This allows the ground water supply to stay at top levels which is important for tree survival. Tree roots can also keep sediment and harmful chemicals from entering streams.
  • If you need a Green reason to plant trees, the USDA estimates that one acre of forest can absorb 6 tons of CO2 and adds 4 tons of oxygen, which we need to breathe.
  • And for mental health, Texan A&M University research determined that visual exposure to tree trees  reduces stress, blood pressure and muscle tension.

So why wouldn’t you want to plant trees on your yard?

Source.

Eileen Saunders, Realtor ~~ Tommy Morgan, Inc., Realtors, 2092 Old Taylor Rd., Oxford, MS~~ 662-234-5344 (o) or 662-404-0816